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Singapore shares edge up 0.1% on Tuesday as investors remain cautious

US and China may have moved to allay concerns that trade tensions were hitting fever pitch but investors preferred to be cautiously optimistic, taking those developments with a pinch of salt.

Singapore's Straits Times Index (STI) opened slightly higher and for the most part, stayed that way to close at 3,067.52, up 2.19 points or 0.1 per cent.

Markets in the Asia-Pacific, which faced sell-offs on Monday mostly recovered with Australia, China, Japan and South Korea closed higher.

China's Shanghai Composite Index was best performer of the bunch, advancing 38.63 points or 1.4 per cent to 2,902.19, buoyed by strong industrial profits for July released on Tuesday. Hong Kong, where protests continue to weigh on the economy and investor sentiment, closed lower as did Malaysia.

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In Singapore, trading volume clocked in at 1.18 billion securities, just under the daily average in the first seven months of 2019. Total turnover came to S$1.24 billion, 17 per cent over the January-to-July daily average.

Across the market, decliners trumped advancers 219 to 171. The blue-chip index had 14 of the 30 counters closing in the red.

Yangzijiang Shipbuilding continued its run as the STI's most active counter with 62.2 million shares traded during the session. The shipbuilder pared Monday's gains, finishing four Singapore cents or 4.2 per cent lower at 90.5 Singapore cents.

Since Yangzijiang resumed trading on Aug 15, the counter has had the highest average daily trading volume. In addition data suggests that institutional investors have been net sellers of the stock in contrast with retail investors, who are net buyers.

The local banks were higher. DBS Group Holdings closed S$0.08 or 0.3 per cent higher at S$24.17; OCBC Bank gained S$0.04 or 0.4 per cent to S$10.58 and United Overseas Bank ended at S$24.46, up a tick.

Uncertainty over trade matters and low interest rates to support a slowing economies being key drivers on market performance, interest in real estate investment trusts has continued. Among the top performers in the asset class on Tuesday were Keppel DC Reit (up S$0.03 or 1.7 per cent higher at S$1.77) and Sabana Reit (up S$0.01 or 2.3 per cent higher at S$0.455).